A Writing Life… Interview with author Micah Persell
I’m pleased to have on ye old blog a new writer friend of mine, and I’ve come to find out for myself a fantastic author, Micah Persell author of Of Eternal Life and Of Knowledge of Good and Evil , Books 1 and 2 in the Operation: Middle of the Garden Series. Now I’m not a huge paranormal reader, but I will say that Micah pulled me in right from the start with her fantastic descriptions of the frankly horrifying circumstances that her ultra-hot hero Eli found himself in. But wait, I think I’m getting a bit ahead of myself. I’m so excited coming off the end of Of Eternal Life. Slow down, Kwana, and let’s start the interview…
Thanks so much for being here today Micah. Now can you tell us a bit about Of Eternal Life?
Of Eternal Life is the first book in my series. It’s also the first book I ever wrote, so it has an extra special place in my heart. It follows the love story of Eli Johnson and Abilene Miller, but it’s also a suspenseful paranormal romance that focuses around what might happen if the government stumbled upon the ancient Garden of Eden in the Middle East. My theory is that we would turn it into a weapon, especially if it turned out that immortality was in the mix.
Of Eternal Life is categorized as paranormal romance, but it does have some mystical and sci-fi elements. How would you categorize it?
I’d love to categorize it as science fiction. A lot of scientific and medical research went into the making of Of Eternal Life. I think a lot of readers would be shocked to find out that the science in the book is all accurate. As far-fetched as it sounds to have an ancient tree’s fruit turn characters immortal, scientists have tested several methods of extending the human life, one of which is introduction of a substance that extends the Hayflick limit (the number of times a cell can reproduce before dying). I took their research and put a fictional spin on it.
Wow real? That is so cool and interesting and a little scary. Now are you a Plotter or a Pantser? Can you please give us a glimpse into your writing routine?
I started off as a pantser, but then Abilene’s best friend in Of Eternal Life, Dahlia Gutierrez, turned out to be the villain. Surprise! I turned into a religious plotter after that. Every single plot point in Of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was meticulously planned out. When I start a new project, I plot out all of the major turning points. Once I have a plot mapped out, then I write a first draft and revise, revise, revise until I’m moderately happy with the result. Then I revise some more 🙂
Now for one of my favorite questions: Can you please tell us the story of your “overnight” success?
I actually got “the call,” which for me was an e-mail, while on a field trip with my students. I’m a teacher in real life. It was a pretty special day, because I was able to share the news with the kids, and no one has a better reaction to good news than dramatic teenagers. I felt like a celebrity right away.
I’m looking forward to the follow up to Of Eternal Life, Of Knowledge of Good and Evil; as a matter of fact I already have it on my Kindle. Can you tell the blog readers a bit about it?
Well, even though Dahlia turned out to be the villain of book 1, I wasn’t ready to give up on her yet. Book 2 is her story. It’s a story of deep secrets and redemption. I’ve got to say, Dahlia is one of my favorite characters.
What can we expect next from you?
I’m putting the finishing touches on Emma: The Wild and Wanton Edition right now! I’m so excited about this book. It’s Jane Austen’s classic book, but with lots of steamy, steamy added in. Mr. Knightley and Emma definitely burn up the pages. Hopefully, it will come out some time in the spring.
That sounds just wonderful and quite hot. Who doesn’t love Mr. Knightly?
Thanks once again for being here. It was a fantastic treat, and I can’t wait to read more!
You can find Micah on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, or check out her website for a special sneak peak of both Of Eternal Life and Of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
All the best,
Old or New School Planning
Am I one of the only ones still fighting the calendar feature in my phone? I never even look at the thing. Well, that is not true. I did try a few times to program a meeting in once and failed miserably. Bells and chimes going off at all sorts of inappropriate times. But that said, my old pen and paper has never let me down.
Though I’m more of a Pantser in my fiction writing I’m a Plotter in my everyday life and I’m the type of person that keeps it old school and still has to write things down on paper for it to be true in my mind. I’ve used a Filofax for years. My kids always know what mom means when she says, “go and get me my red book.” And years before that one it was a book of another color. I have to say the planners seemed to last longer than the phones I’ve had.
Well over the past weekend I got a pretty new Kate Spade leather planner that I think I’m going to love. A happy new color for a Happy New Year! I will say I’m hesitant to write in it but sadly, the year is already starting to fill up so time to get planning. Let me at it!
So are you Old School or New?
All the best,
Reading a Multi-Cultural Life
Happy Wednesday! Today’s post comes from a piece I recently shared with my New York romance writers chapter and wanted to share with you all my ye old blog friends…
I once received what I considered one of the biggest compliments I could ever have about my writing. It came from a friend of mine who was a fairly new friend at the time but I had already felt that sister from another mother type of kinship. We chatted easily, finished each other’s sentences and had the same taste in love/ hate of certain “not so real housewives” thing going on. It didn’t matter that I am Black and Methodist from Harlem and that she is Jewish and from the Bronx. That is not our world. Our world in that moment was the chatter across the table in our little knit, stitch and yes, sometimes bitch group, surrounded by the other diverse friends we have from many different cultures and ethnicities.
Well, I had given this friend a small sample of my writing (something I rarely do, but she asked and I was weak and there was some wild, rare trust thing going on), a budding, buddy detective story with two best friends as the leads. In the story one main character is Caucasian and the other is African-American. They both flowed in and out of the story (along with some pretty hot guys) as my mind took me and that was that. My friend read the excerpt and her comment was, “I loved it. And what I really loved was that you had so many diverse characters but they were just real and not made up characters. Just women not Black women and then White women. You know women– like us.”
To me this was such a high compliment as a contemporary writer. You see I never want to make my characters caricatures. I want to portray women as real feeling people with heart, like the women I see and meet every day. Even the villains are real to me and not some superficial portrait of what past media history they should be.
I once had an agent (that I think I rightly parted ways with) give me the critique that my characters were too tame. I was asked to make my stories less diverse and to amp up the “Blackness”, whatever the heck that means (and I think I know what it meant to him) of the African American characters, so that when they were submitted to publishing houses, the houses would know where to put them and how to market them.
I, of course, saw red and then became incredibly sad and then I left that agent and kept on writing. My way. I had spent all my life living in the world I lived in, not compromising who I was, there was no way I was going to start now. That being said, many years and a few manuscripts later, I have found a publisher that has embraced my book with it’s truly multi-cultural cast and I could not be happier. Crimson Romance is not shelving THROUGH THE LENS in its multi-cultural section. No, it’s sitting right there with the rest of the contemporary romances as I feel it should. I’m happy to say they believe in the idea of story first and the color of the characters— and the writer for that matter —does not come into play. I hope that there will be a time when all publishers follow this route and more people can read the way we live, in a truly multi-cultural way.
All the best,
Note to self: Get back to that buddy book. It’s a good story!
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Not in Kansas anymore…
Happy Sunday! I hope you are having a wonderful and safe weekend. Can you believe tornadoes in New York yesterday? Just wild! So not in Kansas that’s for sure. But all is well over here today with a bright blue sky and shining sun. The way it is after most stormy days I guess.
Today I’m lucky enough to be over at fab author Becky Lower’s blog talking old romances and past influences. If you have a moment please stop on by here.
Have a great one!
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Thanks so much for making this a wonderful launch week. It’s been so exciting and tons of fun. Over the next few weeks I will be popping up in different spots all over the web promoting Through The Lens and telling you all about it as I go. Yeah, I’m sure you’ll be tired of me before long, but please hang in there, no worries between you all and the Jackster my head won’t get all that big. LOL.
But really, I can’t thank you all enough for sticking by me and encouraging me as I fought to make this dream come true. I actually do feel like I’ve won the crown this week!
You have all my love. Have a wonderful weekend!
P.S. Don’t forget to enter the contest and tell 2 friends! Thanks!
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The Next Big Thing… Who Me?
Everyone who follows me here on ye old blog knows how much I love a tagging game. Ok, stop making that face people. A girl can turn a new leaf. But really, this one was fun. The lovely Synithia Williams author of You Can’t Plan Love tagged me in this cool The Next Best Thing Game. The Next Big Thing? Wow, what a lofty name for a little game, but ok here goes… I’m in!
You ARE America’s Next… oops wrong show.
Here goes for real now…
What is the working title of your book?
Through The Lens
Where did the idea come from for the book?
It’s hard to remember but most likely a pretty busy day and I may have been craving an escape so I decided I’d write one. I also have a love and past history with fashion so it all just sort of came to me.
What genre does your book fall under?
Contemporary Romance/ Multi-Cultural Romance
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
For Mika I had a Nia Long from her Love Jones days in mind and for Ale, he has gone through a few stages and many actors, first there was the actor Kamar de los Reyes who played Antonio Vega on the now defunct soap One Life to Live and more recently the ultra hot William Levy.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Mika Walters is a normal woman working in the not so normal world of New York Fashion, as the long time assistant to photographer Alejandro Vargas she’s tired of being the girl in the background and is ready for Ale to finally view her with the same passion as he does his photographs.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
It will be published by Crimson Romance and available in ebook form everywhere September 3rd.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I did a rough 50,000 words of this book during a NanoWrimo month then I put it away for a long while. After picking it back up and looking it over I realized it was a mess and it took a long time to finish the last 10-15,000 words. It then took extensive editing to turn it into a story that made what I hope is some sense.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
The thought of comparing my book to anyone’s makes me nervous. I will say I’d love it if I can give the reader a feel good heartwarming story that makes them smile.
Who or What inspired you to write this book?
What always inspires me to write all my books is the need to get the character’s story out there. In this case with Mika and Ale I wanted to show the difference between how others see us and how we view ourselves.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Well, the fact that my hero, Alejandro has been described as hot may pique the reader’s interest. To get that note totally made me smile.
Thanks so much for tagging me Synithia. And now I’m passing the fun along. Let’s see… who should I snag? I’ll go with Suleikha Snyder, Laura Simcox, Megan Caldwell and Heather Rodney-Diaz. Have fun ladies!
Imagining a Hero…
Happy Tuesday! I got the most wonderful tweet from someone who had read an advanced copy of Through the Lens and she was now seeing the super hot, hip shaking William Levy in her mind for my hero Alejandro.
I can’t tell you how happy that made me since, though William wasn’t my original image of Ale, he was one of the many that came to mind when I was imagining the ultra hot photographer. So with a thanks to my lovely tweeter I will leave you today with this. Warning have your fans ready.
And now for more Super for your Tuesday… Through the Lens is now available for Pre-order on the Nook too and you can get it here ! Woo to the Hoo Ya’ll!
T-minus 6 until Through The Lens!
Images and video fm here
Happy Monday! I’m hoping you all had a good weekend. So I woke up yesterday morning and let my family know straight out of the gate that I would be writing all day. All day? Yes, all day.
Giambologna’s “Woman Reclining and Writing”
Well, I guess I was nice and firm in my tone because the DH who was up early anyway got the coffee going and made me a lovely breakfast as I got up, cleaned myself up, and got into my summer writing uniform of old pull on shorts and tee. After eating I fired up the laptop. Around 10:00 I went online to my church’s website to peek in on the service. Nothing like being there in person but I love that we have that watch live capability. After that back to work.
Around lunchtime with a stretch I ventured out of my bedroom and asked my DH would he please make me some lunch. I got a brief surprised look but gave the “I’m in my writing world face” and a bit later had a nice spicy noodle soup and turkey wrap.
It was back to writing after that. Time was ticking the clock was going too fast.
Around 4:30 I noticed no one was moving. The dreaded dinner time. I sighed. Maybe I had pushed it. I knew the DH wanted fish and not his own cook fish mine. So I relented and let him know if he brought it I’d bake it. Easy peasy. I already had 3,800 words. A fantastic day’s total.
After dinner and on a roll I went back in for a few more words before what I’m now calling a comedy hour: True Blood. The day’s total 4,900 words!
So what’s the moral of this rambling story? Let your intentions be known from the get go and don’t waver. The rest will fall in line.
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The Name Game
So my eyes shot open this morning, my heart racing and I was in a bit of a panic when I realized that with this new book I’m working on I inadvertently named a major character the same name as a relative of mine. Gulp. Now that I have remembered the family member there is no why I can go forward writing that sexy smexy scene I had all planned out. It’s done. I’ve gone cold. No way great aunt so and so is going to be thinking I was thinking of her when writing that!
But this is not a simple case of just re-naming the problem is this character is introduced by her nickname in my book coming out in September: THROUGH THE LENS. Yikes what to do? Cut to me firing up the laptop and going to a few Baby Naming sites to search for some names with that root. Luckily I have found one that I like and my heart has returned to its normal state of just semi-manic-panic. Writer problems. They are so on the edge.
Hope your day is less angsty than mine.
P.S. I’m still waiting to hear back from Stretch in the Farah Rachon win. Stretch please email me so that I can have Farrah get back to you or another winner will be chosen in a week. Thanks.
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And I’m diligently working on making my book boy/man the best he can be. Back to the grind.
Image from here and beyond.